Hampshire Wizkid FAQs
Q. Is it OK to change the names of classes?
A. It is not recommended that schools change their Class names in SIMS.
Changing Class names in SIMS during an academic year will not only affect the history of the classes in SIMS, but will also cause the deletion of these classes and the creation of new classes in Wizkid.
Any folders or activities that were situated within the deleted classes will become 'orphaned' and will need to be reattached to the new classes by the teacher that created the activities initially or by the school Wizkid Administrator.
It is for this reason, we also discourage schools from using teacher’s initials to make up the class names, as staff turnover increases the temptation to change class names.
Q. Why do I need to enter the National Insurance number of staff in SIMS?
A. The function of completing the NI number field in SIMS has changed. The field is still required but the NI numbers are no longer used nor transferred from the SIMS database. The system simply uses the field to be the indicator that you want this member of staff to have an account in Wizkid. If the field is filled in with any data, the staff members name and classes are exported to create an account.
Q. The NI number is a personal piece of information, what security measures will ensure it is not misused?
A. The NI number is no longer used as the unique identifier for teachers. Instead we use a unique code generated by the ADP system in SIMS called a SIMS GUID. The NI field is used as an indicator to our Wizkid provisioning system that this person should have their name and class data copied to the Wizkid database to create an account and class memberships. Data from the NI field will no longer leave the school’s system. There is no intention to provide it to any one or any system outside the school. It is therefore as safe as your name, address, and DOB details etc that are already stored in SIMS.
Q. One class in our school has two teachers; will they both get a Wizkid account?
A. When you run the data check report you will notice that one teacher has the class assigned and the other does not. This does not matter as long as all the other information pertaining to that teacher is correct. As long as this is the case, when Wizkid is setup for your school there will be a class called <DFE No> Class NTS. In this group you will find all the teachers and other members of staff who were not assigned to a class. Your school Wizkid administrator can then assign the teacher to the correct class.
Q. Will all members of staff be allocated a Wizkid account?
A. Any member of Staff recorded in SIMS will be allocated a Wizkid account if their National Insurance field is filled in.
Q. We have moved some pupils to a different registration group, but the data check report is still showing them in their old groups
A. This is because the SIMS system has updated the registration group table but not the class table and the data check report works from this second table. To correct the problem run validate memberships and then run the data check report again.
Q. How do I add a new pupil or member of staff to Wizkid?
A. For advice on this, please call the IT Help Desk on 01962 847007.
Q. Are we allowed to create accounts on Hampshire Wizkid for users other than staff and pupils?
A. Yes - if you want to give users other than teachers or pupils access to Hampshire Wizkid, you should add them manually through the admin screens.
For example, you may want to give access to governors who are not teachers or an external adult expert who you want to interact with pupils.
We currently do not support parent accounts and do not allow parent accounts to be created manually by school administrators. If you require parent accounts please contact the IT Help Desk.
Before you add anyone manually to Wizkid, ask yourself:
- Are they a teacher or pupil? - If yes then contact the IT Help Desk to deal with the issue, as these users should be provisioned through SIMS integration.
- Could they already have an account via another school? - If yes then ask the person concerned if they have already been given an account. Contact the IT Help Desk to deal with giving these users access to your school classes or user groups.
- Have they been CRB checked? - This is important as they may be interacting with pupils. The same duty of care applies in an online environment as it does in the physical school environment.
Ensure you are confident that:
- They are not someone who should be provisioned through SIMS integration.
- They do not already have a Hampshire Wizkid account via another route.
- It is safe to for the person who will use this account to have access to your Wizkid classes or groups.
If so you then need to decide which user type and role the account should be given.
- Student user type - It is more likely manual accounts are for users who will interact in discussion forums or other collaborative activities or share documents but not create activities or folders themselves in classes or groups. If this is the case they should be given a student account.
- Teacher user type - If you want them to be able to create activities within a class or group then their account would require need to be created as teacher role. This will probably be quite unusual. Teachers can have one of three roles.
- Class teacher - This is the normal account to give a class teacher
- School teacher - If they need to create content in school level folders using the standard interface they need to have a schoolteacher role.
- Global teacher - This should not be used.
Q. What are the standard username patterns used by the SIMS to Wizkid account provisioning service?
A. Currently the username pattern for students and teachers is essentially <initial><surname><random digit from 2 to 9><random letter><random letter>
The surname is truncated to seven characters after stripping any hyphens, apostrophes or spaces. All letters are lowercase.
Any foreign characters such as 'ö' should be changed to the equivalent English alphabet in SIMS before provisioning. The checking report should highlight these for schools to know where they exist in teacher or pupil names in the SIMS database.
nb: These patterns are likely to change when we move to our automated Identity management system, which aligns usernames with those used in other services such as Centrally Hosted SIMS and SIMS Learning Gateway. This is because we will be using the patterns determined by the SIMS ADP tool. At this time the standard patterns will be:
Teacher and students <initial><surname truncated to 6 chars><up to 3 digits for duplicates>
Parent <first name truncated to 5 chars><full surname><up to 3 digits for duplicates>
In all cases none English alphabet characters will be stripped out.
Q. What username pattern should be used when creating manual accounts?
A. If you are provisioning manual accounts, you should avoid using the standard username patterns used by the SIMS to Wizkid account provisioning service.
We recommend all manual accounts have the pattern <DfE>.<first name>.surname> with non-alphabet characters stripped out and top bit set characters such as 'ö' being converted to the equivalent low bit set 'o'.
For example, "Freda Blöggs-is a ‘long-name" from a school with DFE 1234 should be given a username of "1234.freda.bloggsisalongname”.
Manual accounts that clash with our patterns could potentially cause problems for any users provisioned by ADP in the future.
Using DFE numbers also means it is easier to identify where manual accounts are coming from when using global whole LA sections of the platform and is helpful for e-safety reasons. It cannot be stressed enough about how important it is schools take care to manage manual accounts. For example, currently Wizkid does not provide automated expiry of accounts so schools need to consider how they will record and action deletion or suspension of these accounts.
Q. What type of account should we provide governors and others we manually create?
A. This depends on whether the user needs to be able to create activities within a class. If they do then they would require a teacher account. This will probably be quite unusual.
It is more likely they will be users who will interact in classes or user groups via discussion forums or other collaborative activities or share documents. In this case, they would/could be provisioned with a student account. If they need to create activities in user groups this can be handled as described below.
Since version 9.4 of Hampshire Wizkid there is a new feature called dynamic user groups. These enable user accounts types to be mapped to roles group roles with higher or lower permissions. For example, teacher’s accounts can be mapped to member group role and so have similar privileges to students but only within that group. Alternatively, student accounts can be mapped to teacher group role and so have similar privileges to teachers but only within that group.
Q. What username pattern should be used for Hampshire County Council employees from outside schools?
A. Currently the support team provision these accounts manually using the pattern <service>.<first name>.<surname> with non-alphabet characters stripped out and top bit set characters such as 'ö' being converted to the equivalent low bit set 'o'.
For example, "Freda Blöggs-is a'long-name" from HIAS would become "hias.freda.bloggsisalongname”.
Display name last names are also suffixed with the service in parentheses.
For example, "Freda Blöggs-is a ‘long-name" who works for HIAS will have a display last name of Freda Blöggs (HIAS). In this case, top bit set characters like "ö" can be safely used if really required.
Q. Will products like EducationCity and Espresso be made available through the learning platforms?
A. As with any content title, if enough schools express an interest to the authority, we will be very happy to arrange an aggregated purchase on behalf of schools. This provides opportunity for significant cost savings to schools. Licensing particulars of specific products that are currently delivered via a local caching server, such as espresso, will of course vary. Contact the IT Help Desk to express an interest in a particular title.
Q. Where can I find out more about applying the use of Learning Platforms in an infant school environment?
A. See our Wizkid case studies.
Q. The demonstration of the platform indicated that it is too text orientated for Early Years. How does this platform apply to pupils not yet reading?
A. We are planning to include online audio recording facilities and Widgit symbols using the Point and InSite tools in a future release to assist in this area.
Q. Are the IT Help Desk costs included in the provision of the Hampshire Wizkid Learning Platform?
A. Yes, support is provided as an integral service element of Hampshire Wizkid.
Q. Why has my class lost all of its folders and activities?
A. Check with your School SIMS administrator, if the class name has been changed in SIMS, then the original class in Wizkid may have been deleted and any folders or activities that were situated within the deleted class may have become 'orphaned'. If so, these will need to be reattached to the new class by the teacher that created the activities initially or by the school Wizkid Administrator. For further advice or assistance on how to do this, please contact the IT Help Desk.
Q. What do I do if I find unwanted classes within my School Wizkid area after the initial set up?
A. These are only visible in Wizkid Admin, so go to Hierarchy Management, and then choose 'Classes'. Clicking the 'L' icon will list all of your classes within your school. Click 'Edit' under the class name, on the right hand side of the screen, if it says zero teachers and zero pupils, you are then able to click 'delete' to remove the class. If you're not sure, leave it alone. Remember, these can only be seen through Admin anyway.
Q. Wizkid shows the abbreviated class name; how do I get the full name to show?
A. This issue should have been fixed. If you still see this in Wizkid please raise a call with the IT Help Desk.
Q. As the learning platform is providing significant opportunity for home access, will this conflict with what the home access project (aka Computers for Pupils) is trying to achieve?
A. No, this will not conflict. Whilst Wizkid will definitely provide huge opportunity for home access, it will not fulfil the objectives of the CfP initiative.
Q: Will extra bandwidth be made available to schools?
A. The contract to deliver broadband to Hampshire schools was renewed in 2009 and bandwidth requirements will be reviewed as learning platform usage increases.
Q. Do teachers have the same level of access to the Learning Platform from home as they have at school?
A. Yes, all users have the same level of access from home, with the exception of access to files/work they choose to store on the school network, which will be down to the configuration by individual schools.
Q. Are there different levels of access available for admin staff/ teaching staff etc?
A. Yes, access can be configured for different users of the platform
Q. If a school is not connected to the Internet via SWAN, can we still use Wizkid?
A. Yes, Wizkid is accessible via any internet connection; however, as Learning Platform developments move forward, there may be some aspects that are dependent upon the communication technology or specific data security requirements that are only accessible via a SWAN secure network.
Q. What are the costs for secondary schools wanting to buy back in?
A. Information for secondary schools interested in Wizkid.
Q: We do not have a curriculum network, can we still run Wizkid?
A. A client/server network is not required to run Wizkid. However, the system is hosted externally to the school and Hampshire County Council and so internet connectivity is required.
Q. Will my school computers be suitable to run Wizkid?
A. Please ask your school technician to use the browser check on the Studywiz site to ensure your computers are suitable.
Q. How secure is Hampshire Wizkid
A. We take security of the Hampshire Wizkid very seriously form both e-safety and data security aspects.
With respect to systems security we would like to assure schools that from the outset of procurement our tender included mandatory requirements for the supplier to provide:
- protection against unauthorised access
- preventing interception of traffic across the internet and locally using SSL
- data encryption of the data held on the servers
In addition, since procurement we have visited the hosted location for the service and are satisfied the data centre has very high and acceptable security standards.
We believe that Hampshire Wizkid provides a safe secure environment for schools to provide teachers and pupils with the tools required to not only extend and enhance teaching and learning but also to provide an experience similar to the social networking and online world with which we all face in their daily lives. In doing so, it provides opportunities for teachers to work with students and parent/carers in understanding the benefits but also cope with the dangers.
Q. Where is the service hosted and who is the hosting provider?
A. The Hampshire Wizkid servers are located at a data centre hosting facility in Slough, Berkshire owned and managed by Rackspace UK.
Q. How safe is our data on this hosted server?
A. After a site visit by Hampshire IT staff we are confident the level of data security at this newest of Rackspace’s data centres is extremely high. Within the building, staff are granted access to secure areas on a needs basis. In the interests of security, we are not at liberty to provide exact security details but the same standards are applied to our hosting as for their other clients that host databases with them. Currently these include the UK Army, insurance companies like GoCompare and accounting companies like Xero. Additionally every member of Rackspace staff is background checked by Kroll to cover Criminal Records.
Q. How does the safety and security of Hampshire Wizkid change when used from outside the school?
A. Where the service is used from within the Hampshire network (SWAN) the Hampshire Wizkid service is accessed through Hampshire proxies and firewalls to ensure the standards demanded by Becta for ISP services to schools are met.
Like any online service Hampshire Wizkid access depends upon the security steps taken by all parties involved. However, all activity by users is logged against that users account. It is the responsibility of all users to comply with the Acceptable Use Policy to which they signed up. Schools are responsible for ensuring all of their users whether teacher, student, parent or governor signs up to their AUP.
Q. Is there any form of web filtering used for the service?
A. This depends upon where the client computer is located. Where we do not supply the internet connection Hampshire County Council can have no control over what sites are blocked. With respect to clicking through from Wizkid, teachers must make decisions on which sites they recommend and provide links to students through Wizkid activities. We would always recommend that any use of the Internet is sat alongside e-safety education.
At home, it is the responsibility of the parent or carer of young children to understand the dangers and safeguards that are available for safe access to the Internet from home based computers.
It has to be understood there is always a danger that students will end up visiting web sites that contains inappropriate content or malicious software. Responsible use of the Internet is everyone's responsibility. Schools should ensure every user of the systems and services they provide for staff and students should sign up to an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), which in the case of students should be countersigned by parent/carers.
We recommend that schools visit Hampshire County Councils e-safety in Hampshire where we provide example AUPs for schools to take and amend as required as well as links to the latest advice from the Hampshire Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and Becta. In particular, we would point you to the Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth & Southampton 4LSCB E-Safety Strategy document that provides links to appropriate advice and guidance for schools and for your question for parents and carers.
Q. Is there any form of word filtering in use?
A. No - Word filtering is an extremely difficult solution to get right in a learning platform that is used across the age ranges from four to 16. Once a system is put in place, there are those that would see this as a challenge to imaginatively defeat detection of using abusive or inappropriate language. This can lead to endless fight to block such abuses. Whether this is the best way of spending resource or whether it would be better to deal with issues and offenders after the abuse is open for debate.
However, we are currently working with the supplier to develop and test word-filtering software in Wizkid and would appreciate input from educators as to the exact requirements especially concerning levels of management.
Q. Is there any form of intrusion detection software installed on the servers that are used when the children use the online chat facility?
A. The servers are hosted in a data centre protected by a firewall that provides intrusion detection.
Teachers control when chat rooms are open and which users in their class have access. As with any online activity like this, it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure the facility is used safely and monitored. All chat room conversations are logged and can these logs can be searched by the school even after the room is closed.
For urgent issues, call the IT Help Desk on 01962 847007. For anything else, see our contact page.